As the end of their five-year contracts loomed, indentured Indians carefully hoarded their hard-won savings, some having finally switched to the more profitable free-market labour system to the delight of authorities. Others permanently abandoned their assigned plantations also giving up any intention of returning to India, while several unexpectedly found love.

Following a visit to the Wales plantation in July 1841, Circuit Stipendiary Magistrate William Wolseley announced, “One of the Coolies of this estate has been married to a black woman by the Presbyterian minister of the parish, which is the only instance in the colony of a similar union legally solemnized.” In March 1841, the labourers were transferred from the sold Vreed-en-Hoop plantation “of their own free will and consent” to Wales, another owned by the Scotsman John Gladstone. They were reported “upon the whole (to) have been working pretty steadily ever since; there has been but little sickness among them, and the only death that of an old man about 60 years of age, of a disease with which he was afflicted before he came to the colony.”

The 49 bonded-men comprised a third of the Wales work-force cultivating 244 acres of sugar cane and were accompanied by just two women and three children. “About 7 or 8 of them are working for the same wages as the colony labourers, the others prefer continuing to receive allowances of food, clothing, etc. agreeably to their indentures, either plan is left to their own option,” Wolseley said…..